JIFFY LUBE... oil change from hell
Date: Sunday, May 09, 2010 @ 20:25:21 EST
Topic: Consumer Info

JIFFY LUBE… the oil change from hell

Now you might think that when you have what appears to be a well organized quick oil change station with employees in uniforms that rattle off an impressive list of what they did to your car to justify that $40 dollar oil change... that you would get a good quality oil change.

Well in this hurry up world, we don’t often have the time to sit around for hours waiting at a dealer for an oil change and on April 19th, 2010 I took my 2004 Nissan Murano in for an quick oil change at JIFFY LUBE at 4000 S Military Trail in Lake Worth Florida. I had no idea …couldn’t even fathom the depth of what was about to happen to me and my poor car.

I no sooner drove into the parking lot and I was instantly greeted before I could even put the car in park and so I made arrangements for an oil change which they could do right away. “What a perfect day,” I thought… “I got here just at the right time.”

Everything seemed to be going according to plan when I noticed the oil change guys struggling with the air cleaner system. One employee would call in another for consultation and they all seemed stumped but after 10 minutes or so, they reported everything went well and I asked about the problem they had with the air cleaner. They said it was nothing… just a little tricky to get right. They weren’t kidding.

Since I didn’t have a coupon, I paid $40.46 for what turned out to be disaster waiting for me as I drove happily down the road thinking that I was already ahead of schedule for my day.

As I gently accelerated around a car heading east on Lake Worth road I heard the engine making an unfamiliar deep kind of engine noise but everything seemed okay until I pulled up to a stop light and the engine conked out. That was just the beginning.

Getting it started again took awhile and meanwhile everyone was beeping their horns behind me. But getting it started was one thing… getting it in drive without it conking out again was difficult if not impossible and so it took many tries. Meanwhile tempers were boiling behind me.

At this point, I was certain JIFFY LUBE screwed up my car but I was miles away from the station so I quickly thought out my options. I thought about having it towed in but decided to try and nurse the car back to the station to save time. It was hard on the car so I turned on my 4 way blinkers and dreaded every single stop light because it was there I had to try and keep the engine running AND get it in drive without it stalling which wasn’t always possible. So I carefully looked ahead and tried to pace myself so I didn’t have to completely come to a stop.

Finally, I ran the last stop light which had just turned red but no one had moved into the intersection yet… I made my U turn and pulled into the parking lot of the JIFFY LUBE. The car was very hot after putting it through all this hard driving and JIFFY LUBE employees immediately accepted there might be a problem they were responsible for.

Turns out, they hadn’t re-installed the air cleaner assembly correctly and on a Nissan that means your car runs very lean (engine starves for fuel and has no power) which means it barely runs. Not only did this fumbling expose me and other drivers to risk, it was totally unnecessary if they had only been more careful.

After some apologizing for screwing up …they assured me that everything was okay and I drove off thinking I was so lucky that I managed to get the car back and they fixed it and I wasn’t too badly behind schedule. But little did I know that something else was brewing that I wouldn’t notice until May 9th when I parked the car over some beautiful pavers and noticed an oil leak.

Since I had my family with me and I was fully dressed with coat and tie for Mother’s Day, I wasn’t about to crawl under the car to inspect but I instantly knew it wasn’t transmission fluid nor was it power steering fluid… it was oil and that likely means another JIFFY LUBE screw up… one that I didn’t see right away.

After I got home and changed clothes I got under the car and saw it was wet underneath and around the oil pan in front of the oil plug and behind as well.

Contrary to what some unknowledgeable mechanics will tell you, underneath a car the wind currents blow everywhere and a leak at the oil drain plug can end up getting the whole oil pan wet with oil making it appear that the leak is coming from in front of the oil pan when it actually is coming from the rear of the pan where the oil plug is.

A few years ago, I was told that a new oil leak on my Grand Cherokee that had never leaked a single drop of oil …was from the rear seal and I needed a $600 dollar repair job to fix it. And the mechanic went to the trouble of putting the car on the lift to show me the wet areas that appeared to support his claim.

But having built many cars myself for drag racing and street use, I asked the mechanic to start by replacing the 50 cent gasket on the oil drain plug and of course he said that wouldn’t fix the problem. Well he was dead wrong. I replaced the 50 cent gasket and the Grand Cherokee never leaked another drop of oil again… and its been years.

What happens is that not all oil changers know what they’re doing. And often the oil changes are performed by employees who know nothing about how to use tools correctly much less how to service a car. Many who are unfamiliar with good mechanic practices will over tighten the oil plug crushing the gasket causing oil to leak. And when it does, it goes everywhere.

Needless to say, I have no intention of returning to this JIFFY LUBE station ever again and will have Nissan replace the oil plug gasket and I will let you know if that solves the problem.

The other possibility is that if a mechanic used an air wrench to tighten the oil pan… it could have crushed the oil pan gasket… but I will let you know the end of this mystery but for now… be extremely careful WHO changes the oil on your car and keep a watchful eye for anything that doesn’t seem right to you. Ask questions… and pray that you haven’t got novices working on your car as there obviously were on April 19th at this JIFFY LUBE.

Update: 5/14/10 The Nissan dealer charged $150.00 for replacing a seal on the oil cooler. So far, no more leaks and perhaps Jiffy is off the hook for the oil leak.

This article comes from Lake Worth Media

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